Best Laid Plans
This week, my friend reminded me of a quip I’ve heard often: “When we make plans, God laughs.” I had to abandon any notion about God being a vindictive being in order to get sober, so I imagine it to be like a parent chuckling as their willful kid packs a bag to run away. My “plans” this week related to the largest undertaking of my entire life. I wrote a book. Not only did I write a book, I published a book, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
I’d feared the publishing step of the book process for some time, but I knew while I was writing that I could just cross that bridge when I came to it. When the finishing touches were executed by the copy editor (and a few more post edit-changes…note to self: pencils DOWN), I had come to it. No more procrastination.
Amazon KDP offers a wealth of information, so much so that it easily overwhelmed me. I watched a webinar or two and read through their instructions. I volleyed back and forth with the cover artist (Caitlin B. Alexander…10/10 recommend) to finalize the illustration and dimensions. I formatted the ebook using the Kindle Create tool. I checked and triple checked the formatting of my document, and once uploaded, ordered five proof copies direct to my door. The day the proof copies came was magical, and not just because it was Friday the 13th. For the first time, I held this two-year-long project in my hands! I knew that just ten days later, it would be available to the world. And this is when God laughed.
All this time, I had been marching toward a launch date of October 23rd, a date of extreme significance to me. My grandmother Polly, the role model I write about in my memoir, celebrated a birthday on that date each year (along with several other inspirational women in my life). I learned that preorders should be made available on Kindle two months ahead of time, so I set August 23rd as my “readiness” target date. I would plan to have both the ebook and the paperback set up and ready to preorder on August 23rd, to be delivered into the hands of readers worldwide in October! Then I learned that paperbacks cannot be set for preorder—it’s an all or nothing approach. In addition, once published, books can take up to 72 hours to go live, or as I learned, as little as twelve. I decided “why wait?” Not only were both versions ready (even though, believe it or not, I made MORE changes after receiving the proofs!), I didn’t want anyone, myself included, to wait two more months for this highly anticipated (and highly publicized) project.
The digital step was pretty straightforward: set the launch date of 8/23, upload the ebook, publish the link to preorder. The paperback proved to be far less precise, but thankfully I decided to push the button early. After reviewing my project, Amazon rejected the cover art due to a tiny measurement that had not been a problem during the proof process. Had I not submitted it early to allow the full 72 hour review period, I would not have been able to ask the artist to fix the issue on a business day, Friday. She scrambled, I scrambled, and the correction was submitted Friday afternoon. I woke up early Saturday morning to the news that my paperback was available to order!
There are plenty of dates solidified in my mind, and I suppose I hoped that August 23rd, 2021 would be the day I launched my memoir. Perhaps instead, it will be like the grand opening of a store after a few customers have trickled in and out of the soft opening. The point is, I am now a published author. And God is smiling because I’ve shared a gift of hope.
Purchase your copy here.